In this post, an attempt will be made to investigate John Hattie’s views on feedback and think about how the ideas can be implemented within school. Three books will be used:

Feedback to the teacher?

Book 1, p4 Hattie underlines that ‘one of the major results presented in this book relates to increasing the amount of feedback because it is an important correlate of student achievement’ but is quick to state that it is the nature of feedback that is important and highlights that it is the feedback given by students to teachers that is more powerful than feedback to the student.

  • Have you ever thought about the feedback from students to yourself?
  • How can you increase the quality / quantity of feedback from students?
  • What is the climate of your class? How can you improve this?

Feedback and considerable variability

Book 1, p174 The variability in impact of different forms of feedback indicates that some types of feedback are more powerful than others. The most effective forms of feedback are those that provide prompts, cues or reinforcement to the learner. Incidentally, 70% of teachers claim they provide detailed feedback but only 40% of the students agreed with this.

  • How do you know that your feedback is having an impact?
  • Do you provide one or many different forms of feedback based on the class / individual?

Feedback is acted upon

Book 1, p174 Is there any point to feedback if it is not acted upon?

  • Do you provide time for a student to act upon the feedback given?
  • Is this chased up and re-marked?
  • What happens if they fail again? Who is seen to be at fault?

Feedback from peers

Book 1, p174

‘Most feedback that students obtained in any day in classrooms was from other students and most of this feedback was incorrect’.

  • How can we increase the accuracy of the feedback given by other students?
  • Do they need to be trained in giving appropriate feedback?
  • Are they fully aware of the mark / assessment criteria?

Be careful not to confuse reward with feedback

Book 1, p174

Be very careful if you are using a reward as a direct form of feedback. As the reward often contains so little task information, it should not be thought of as a form of feedback.

  • If you are awarding a student for a good piece of work, do not forget to offer feedback as well

A model of feedback

Book 1, p176

Feedback (1)

Taken from

The four stages at the bottom of the page are of interest:

  • Task – Is the work right or wrong? This level of feedback may include tips or directions to where to find out more information. Also know as corrective feedback or knowledge of results. Structural, factual based comments highlighting complete or incomplete work.
  • Process – Comments about the processes undertaken in the work and suggestions linked directly to the processes used or not used. ‘You did this…how about that?’ Be careful to balance between formative and summative comments (formative comments have far greater power to develop individuals’ self-efficacy)
  • Self-regulation – Prompting the student to re-check the work or elements of their work themselves. For example: ‘You already know the key features of the opening of an argument. Check to see whether you have incorporated them in your first paragraph’. How can you develop students’ ability to self-regulate?
  • Self – Feedback becomes personal in the sense that it is directed to the self and is often unrelated to performance. For example: ‘You’re brilliant at these type of tasks’. It is important to recognise the effort made to complete the work but to do so with care. What might happen if you give a piece of work full marks, comment on how hard the work must have been only to realise the student spent 5 instead of 50 mins on the piece of work?  The student in question would continue to limit the challenge or difficulty of the set work knowing that they completed it with such ease last time.

The real skill in providing feedback is to provide the right form of feedback at the right time.

Where am I going?

Book 2, p131

Looking at the diagram above (Feed Up), ‘Where am I going?’ means that teachers need to know, and be able to communicate to students, the goals of the lesson. The link between where am I going and targets is clear – however, it is important to ensure that goals are challenging yet attainable: they inform individuals about the level of performance desired; opportunity to set further goals based on prior attainment; if there is no challenge, feedback will have little effect.

  • What might happen if students did not know where they are going in the lesson?
  • What links are there between lesson objectives and feedback?
  • What might happen if one of these elements were missing?

How am I going there?

Book 2, p132

‘How am I going there?’ begins to add in the relative nature of feedback in regards to the starting or finishing point.  When providing feedback at this stage, feedback that has a quick turnaround time has far greater impact.

  • At this formative stage, how can you decrease the time taken to get feedback to the student?

Where to next?

Book 2, p132

This type of feedback can help in making sure the next challenge is at an appropriate level and this, in turn, can help develop students’ own self regulation on tasks.

  • How often do we link feedback to future learning?
  • Can this be thought of as feedforward instead of feedback?

Feedback and the gap

Book 2, p129

A lovely description about how feedback can be seen. ‘The best way in which to understand feedback…[is that] feedback aims to reduce the gap between where the student is and where he or she is meant to be’.

  • Are you fully aware of where each student is?
  • Are you fully aware of where each student meant to be?
  • How can you make students aware of where they are and where they are meant to be?